20. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant (Butterfield) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Notes from the President (Action Item)

The following item concerning “U.S. Power” appeared in the President’s April 10th News Summary: “The U.S. has lost ‘the desire and ability’ to be the dominant power in the world, Britain’s Institute for Strategic Studies said. In the past year Russia has become the ‘full equal’ of the United States in military and political terms and is likely to overtake America in Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles by mid-1969. It said, however, that with its great stock of submarines and planes the United States will nevertheless retain a lead in total number of nuclear weapons. The survey predicted the possibility of a less active American role in the world in the 1970s—maybe the smallest U.S. international role since before World War II. ‘It was largely accidental that the end of the American desire and ability to be the universal and dominant power should coincide with the end of eight years of Democrat rule,’ the survey said. This course is not due to a choice of Americans of ‘isolation for its own sake, but because their recent experience at home and abroad, had exhausted their confident sense of purpose and ability.’”

With reference to the content of this paragraph, the President addressed these comments to you:


Very important and accurate.
We need to get this broadly circulated.

Alexander P. Butterfield 2
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 341, Subject Files, HAK/President Memoranda 1969-1970. No classification marking. A copy was sent to Keogh.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.